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Taking Stock: Buzz Groups are coming!

We’re looking for your Ideas for Future Opportunities

The focus of these sessions will be on our shared aspirations as a Library: Where would we like to see ourselves? What do we wish YUL to be? What should we be heading?

As part of our “Taking Stock” process we are going to focus on question 8 in each of the Library’s five AAPR Program Information Forms [PIFs] – the “Opportunity Analysis” section, which addresses opportunities for how our program(s) might be improved. These sessions will complement the earlier “Taking Stock” sessions that focused on our shared understanding of the current state. Now we are going to begin to explore our shared future state.

You are invited to a Buzz Group facilitated by Suzanne Killick to share:

  • Your overall impressions of the PIF responses
  • Similarities and differences between the responses
  • What are your aspirations for the YUL?

Buzz Groups are scheduled in Room 503 Scott Library on:

  • Thu. Oct 9 10-11 am
  • Wed. Oct 15  3:30 – 4:30 pm [ULO will attend]
  • Thu. Oct 23 10 – 11 am

Please email and let us know which one you’d like to attend.

There are five AAPR PIF’s for the Library. (downloadable at:
We will be looking at Criterion 8 for each of the 5 areas below.
Criterion 8: Opportunity analysis. Focus: Program Quality. Identify opportunities and suggestions on how the program may be improved.
What opportunities exist to strengthen this program in the context of its contributions to the University’s mission and goals? What opportunities exist for greater collaboration in the delivery of this program within the University and/or with external partners? Are there potential groups that you could serve, with additional resources? Please discuss possibilities that you foresee.

1. University Librarians Office [ULO]
If ULO had greater HR capacity (see section 4 for ULO Full time Equivalent [FTE] analysis) we would not be spread as thinly and would be able to see more rapid progress towards achieving Integrated Resource Planning and strategic goals that further institutional goals. The scope of existing collaborative initiatives with campus partners forged by ULO members has been documented elsewhere in this PIF [2] and includes work with Vice President Research and Innovation [VPRI] (for Undergraduate Research Fair), research celebrations) , Vice Provost Teaching and Learning (elearning, experiential education), Vice-Provost Students (First Year Experience [FYE] ), Counseling and Disability Services (students with disabilities). Also includes collaborations at Associate Deans of Research level that led to Open Access panel (YUL and LAPS) and data mining panel/3D printer makerspace workshop with all Faculties. Further collaborations at Faculty level will be pursued particularly with an eye to emerging digital scholarship/digital humanities partnerships with Fine Arts, Engineering and so on. External partnerships continue to be strong both provincially (Ontario Council of University Libraries [OCUL]) and nationally (Canadian Research Knowledge Network [CRKN], Canadian Association of Research Libraries [CARL] ) and internationally (Association of Research Libraries [ARL]). ULO members participate extensively in future planning discussions within these bodies and ensure York is at the leading edge of developments. Alumni is a potential audience that we could serve more extensively than is possible under current budget restrictions. Many are interested in accessing eresources after they graduate however many content providers will not include alumni in terms of license. Those that do charge a significantly higher fee.

2. Teaching and Learning
The Information Literacy program is ideally situated to contribute to the University’s mission in graduating students who are information literate through:

  • further collaborations with the Teaching Commons and with our Post Secondary Education partners to provide a more formalized professional development training program including teaching certification for librarians;
  • developing phase 2 of the Learning Commons to accommodate additional literacies (e.g. numeracy) and classrooms for teaching;
  • further developing academic literacies programming partnerships with Teaching Commons for more curriculum-integration/embedding of IL;
  • creating a Research Commons with partnerships (Institute for Social Research, Academic Writing Centre, & University IT) to support upper level undergraduate and graduate students with research needs, such as data management/processing, thesis/proposal writing, and presentation/research/e-teaching software instruction and services
  • continued development of the new Personal Librarian program to promote FYE. Additional resources would allow the Libraries to facilitate stronger infrastructure for the Learning Commons, including, for example, hiring a coordinator who would also manage ongoing developments of SPARK and develop modules for additional disciplines including the sciences and applied sciences such as Health and Engineering.

3. Learning Environments: Physical and Virtual

Some of the key opportunities for the Libraries include:

  • Reorganization of faculty and staff to consolidate service points, implement a more mobile and adaptive liaison and reference model, repurpose some spaces.
  • Continue to cultivate existing collaborations with The Writing Centre, Teaching Commons, Learning Commons and as well as building new collaborations with others such as Bethune College or Lassonde.
  • Complete phases II and III of the Learning Commons, adding more student study spaces, classrooms and town hall/event space.
  • Add new kinds of spaces to the Libraries such as Makerspaces, a Digital Scholarship Centre, a Data Visualization Lab and a Research Commons at Steacie.
  • Expand space for Archives & Special Collections so we can continue to grow our collections of unique Canadian heritage materials.
  • Expand the Learning Commons model into all the Library branches both in terms of a physical spaces and co-located services.
  • Expand Library to take advantage of 21st century learning. We can add more software labs for multimedia creation, more group study and collaborative spaces, more flexible, modular and configurable spaces for experiential learning, more quiet and contemplative spaces.
  • Expand Library event programming including forging new collaborations with other units. Event development should concentrate on those that promote experiential learning, research recognition and intensification and community engagement.
  • Expand the Library website to include new kinds of online learning spaces as well as deepen integration to existing learning management services such as Moodle.

4. Collections: Physical and Digital
The future of collection development in university libraries lies in how we manage digital curation in the broadest sense of the term. As active participants in digital cultures, where the kind of mediation required is increasingly moving from simple searching-and-finding strategies to activities that have more to do with what conveniently may be called the materiality of the digital, the role of collections is changing and requires new ways of being supported and promoted. Data and text mining of digitized primary source material is increasingly being used for teaching and research. Librarians are increasingly asked to play roles in research projects that involve collections of all sorts, with the expectation that sophisticated metadata schemes, advantageous licensing arrangements. and robust storage requirements are in place as part of grant applications and a final dissemination of research. And these activities ultimately depend on inter-organizational cooperative ventures led by groups such as OCUL and CRKN. Finally, recent trends in off-loading services at the national level, as witnessed by the dismantling of key programs at Library and Archives Canada, means that local organizations such as YUL will need to assume responsibilities for the care and preservation of key elements of Canada’s cultural heritage.

5. Research
8.01. The biggest challenge to the program’s sustainability is that pan-university opportunities for growth will outstrip resources. As word spreads throughout faculties, research centres and institutes about the Libraries’ services to manage research data, digital collections and scholarly communications, demand for consultations and services steadily grows beyond the Libraries’ capacity. The current ad hoc approach to project development needs to be replaced by strategic planning in collaboration with the associate deans for research and the VP for Research and Innovation. Additional funding from Tri-Council grant programs would also enhance the Libraries’ research capacity, but this initiative requires support of a Research Office. 8.02. A stronger relationship with UIT would promote the development of complementary research infrastructure, particularly in terms of adequate computer memory for storage of digital objects and manipulating big data. 8.03. Many community-based organizations look to York to preserve and provide access to their born-digital archives. The transfer of these electronic records to the Libraries expands the unique research collections available to support research and teaching and contributes to the goal of community engagement, but additional resources will be required to manage this material and increase the Libraries’ infrastructure for digital collections.